An excellent night out! The Full Monty - The Play, delivers against all hopes and expectations.

With a truly lasting legacy and a wonderful cast, The Full Monty - The Play, by Simon Beaufoy, had a lot to live up to in order to come close to the much-loved film hit from 1997. And the stage version was indeed a great success, with laughter ringing out throughout the theatre at every turn.  

The story of a bunch of down on their luck Sheffield former steel workers is a familiar one, and the themes resonate with many of us who have experienced family strife and work worries. Set against the backdrop of the Thatcher government, the story stays true to the angst felt by many at this point in the 80s and delivers a tale of triumph over adversity with a rather (un)surprising finale. 

Great British Life: Can they really do it? The Full Monty...Can they really do it? The Full Monty... (Image: Ellie Kurttz)

This band of not so merry men alight on the idea to form a troupe of strippers, inspired by The Chippendales, in a plan to make some money, not least for main protagonist, Gaz (Danny Pritchard), to be able to see his son regularly. 

We’re transported to the gritty landscapes of steel work in Sheffield through a panoramic background and an impressive set, which morphs between house, office, factory, and club in quick succession, aided by a wonderful 1980s soundtrack. Keeping true to the original film the play uses some well-recognised songs, including the iconic Donna Summer hit, Hot Stuff, in the famous job centre queue scene and Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing where Lomper showcases his record collection.  

As the men, Guy (Jake Quickenden), Gerald (Bill Ward), Dave (Neil Hurst), Horse (Ben Onwukwe) and Lomper (Nicholas Prasad), get used to the idea of forming a troupe, we are happily taken with them on their journey as they turn from a bunch of two-left-footed men to a group of friends learning more about themselves, their relationships, and thongs.  

Great British Life: And the crowd goes wild... The Full MontyAnd the crowd goes wild... The Full Monty (Image: Ellie Kurttz)Of course, no review of The Full Money would be complete without a few words on what is now an expected finale. Once the men have ironed out a few last-minute nerves around performing to a crowd of women they know, they all take to the stage to perform The Full Monty to the Tom Jones classic You Can Leave Your Hat On …and that is the entirety of what they do leave on! The crowd indeed went wild for ripped and no-so-ripped abs, shiny thongs, and some very well-placed hats. It’s only from the safety of a back-lit stage and a quick curtain drop that they then reveal all. 

The Full Monty plays at Manchester Opera House until 17 February